By Richard Prince
TheRoot.com has been sold to Univision Communications Inc. for an undisclosed amount, the parties announced Thursday, in a deal that puts a slice of the African American market in the domain of the U.S. company most dominant in Spanish-language broadcasting.
“I’m excited,” Donna Byrd, publisher of TheRoot.com, told Journal-isms by telephone. “Everyone’s looking for how we can grow our business, and they’re looking to do the same thing.” For TheRoot, ownership by Univision means access to Univision’s televison, radio, video and digital production facilities.
For Univision, the acquisition represents another step in expanding beyond its Hispanic base. Spokesman Jose Zamora told Journal-isms, “We focus a lot on diversity. Everything is tied to our multicultural aspect. It’s how America is now.” He pointed to the Fusion network, a Univision partnership with Disney Co. that targets millennials of all races.
Univision said in its news release, “In joining UCI, The Root will leverage UCI’s extensive digital production facilities and publishing infrastructure, while its editorial team will retain its voice and stay true to its mission, which has made it successful throughout its history.
” ‘This bold new partnership between Univision and The Root underscores the ties that have long bound people of color together throughout the Western Hemisphere and is a sign of even greater levels of communication, collaboration and exchange between these culturally vital groups of people,’ said Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and chairman of The Root, who co-founded The Root along with Donald Graham, CEO and chairman of Graham Holdings Company, in January of 2008. . . .”